Happy Birthday, Parkway

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    For Americans, September 11 is a sad day, a day to remember the 3,000 innocents who gave their lives because of a meglomaniac terrorist and his henchmen. However, today also is the anniversary of something wonderful in the history of Virginia. It was on September 11, 1935, that ground was first broken on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a federal “stimulus project” during the Great Depression, one that ultimately joined Shenandoah National Park with the Great Smokey Mountain National Park in North Carolina.

    The scenic highway stretches 469 miles and still brings money and jobs to the Appalachian region.

    Among dignitaries at Friday’s ceremony kicking off a celebration of the Parkway, was Rep. Rick Boucher, who noted how vital the highway has been in helping preserve and promote the culture of the people who made their home in the Blue Ridge. “Traditional music was founded…in these Blue Ridge Mountains,” said Boucher, who worked to secure federal funds to build the Blue Ridge Music Center. “It all started here on the border of Virginia and North Carolina.”

    Now, visitors can follow the Crooked Road music trail, visit the Round the Mountain folk artisans network, attend the Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention, which also is celebrating its 75th anniversary, in addition to camping and historic sights.

    North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue (D), who who was born in Grundy VA, called the parkway “one of the great gifts to the global population. Happy birthday, Parkway. We’ll all be back.”  

    • teacherken

      at the Southern end of the parkway?

      A couple of other events on September 11 in the past

      birthdays of Bear Bryant, Tom Landry, Marcos Moulitsas, Reuben Askew, Charles Evers, Bryan De Palma and David Broder

      deaths of Nikita Krushschev and Lorne Greene

      Bob Dylan first performs in NY City, at Gerdes Folk City on W. 4th Street in 1961

      Salvadore Allende overthrown in Chile in 1973

      And perhaps of greatest importance – in 1906 on this date Mohandas K. Gandhi began his movement of resistance, Satyagraha, in South Africa.

    • When I was the mother of a new baby, I would often take him to the BRP and we would drive along it.  We could stop in the various vistas when we needed to stretch our legs, or simply drive along and I could admire my beloved mountains knowing my son was falling asleep in them, as his family has been doing since the early 1700’s.  That this was all free to us — simply there for us to enjoy, at a time when we had no money whatsoever (it helped that gas was about a dollar a gallon!) was a true gift, and I’ll never forget it.